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Murder charges dropped against teen accused in Newport News mom’s death

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Posted at 7:34 PM, Sep 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-21 04:31:03-04

Newport News, Va. - Newport News prosecutors have withdrawn charges against a 16-year-old boy charged in the shooting death of a 27-year-old mother in January.

Phyllis Vinston was hit and killed by a stray bullet in the east end of Newport News while trying to shield her young sons from gunfire.

More than a week later, Newport News police arrested 15 and 16-year-old boys for her death.

According to a probable cause summary, the 16-year-old told police he and another suspect followed two other people in the area of 34th Street and Marshall with intentions to shoot two others.

Records say the 16-year-old told police that as they approached the playground, the suspect with him began to shoot.

The 16-year-old claims to have run off while the other suspect ran into the direction of the victim.  The 16-year-old said he then heard one more shot.

The 16-year-old told police that the other suspect later told him that he attempted to shoot the two people they were chasing, but "shot the lady instead."

Prosecutors with the Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney Office have not returned NewsChannel 3's calls asking why the 16-year-old's charges were dropped, and what could be the fate of the other teen charged.

Related:

Family of slain Newport News mother says she died trying to protect her kids

Teens arrested in shooting death of Newport News mother

Police identify Newport News mother shot and killed at apartment complex